In March, as the coronavirus pandemic swept through China and began hitting Europe, before stay-at-home orders and worst-case global coronavirus deaths were predicted into the hundreds of thousands of people, medical professionals began to worry about whether there were enough ventilators for all the patients who would need them.
A team of U-M doctors specializing in creating medical inventions through 3D printing started brainstorming. One week after creating sketches in a notebook, they had a working prototype for a new type of device to split one ventilator between multiple patients — in a way that solves one of the primary concerns of that controversial, last-resort practice: the lack of the ability for doctors to make individual oxygen adjustments for each connected patient.
The doctors group, MakeMedical LLC, has applied for a patent on its VentMI device. It has been tested on animals and received authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use amid the coronavirus pandemic.